Sep 13, 2011

Local Colleges Top USNWR List of ‘Up-and-Coming Schools’

For the fourth consecutive year, the U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) survey of college administrators asked campus VIP’s to name schools they considered “Up-and-Coming Institutions.”

After results were tallied, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC) and George Mason University came in numbers one and two respectively for institutions “worth watching because they are making promising and innovative changes.”

Last spring, college presidents, provosts, and admissions deans were asked to nominate up to 10 colleges in their peer ranking category “that are making improvements in academics, faculty, students, campus life, diversity and facilities.”

This question allowed officials to pick schools that are rapidly evolving in ways that may not be immediately evident to college-bound students and their parents. Colleges in this competition are ranked in order of the number of nominations received.

This is the third year UMBC has topped the national university list, while GMU rose to 2nd from 5th place in 2010. In the same ranking, the University of Maryland-College Park went up from number 20 to number 8, making its debut as a top 10 up-and-coming school.

“We are delighted to be recognized as one of America’s most innovative universities and a national leader in undergraduate education,” commented UMBC President Freeman A. Hrabowski, III. “UMBC is committed not only to helping students find success in the classroom, but also to encouraging them to develop a vision for themselves well beyond their years.”

Among national liberal arts colleges, the University of Richmond earned a 3rd place. And Christopher Newport University, in Newport News, came in 6th for up-and-coming regional universities located in the south.

Like other rankings, the lists of “up-and-coming colleges” should only be used as conversation starters. These are schools that have crept onto the radar of college administrators for some reason and could be interesting based on innovations in programming or improvements in facilities.

The value of a college’s location on the list is less important than the fact that they’ve made it onto the list at all. Someone somewhere thinks they might offer something new or different. So you might too.

Here are the national universities USNWR lists as top up-and-coming institutions:

  • UMBC (1)

  • GMU (2)

  • Indiana University-Purdue University (3)

  • Clemson University (4)

  • University of Central Florida (4)

  • Drexel University (6)

  • Tulane University (6)

  • Arizona State University (8)

  • Ball State University (8)

  • Northeastern University (8)

  • Ohio State-Columbus (8)

  • Purdue University-West Lafayette (8)

  • University of Maryland-College Park (8)

  • University of Southern California (8)

  • University of South Florida (8)

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